January 10, 2007
Clayton, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today obtained a court order to permanently prohibit a St. Louis man from advertising and selling raffle tickets in Missouri. Nixon sued Darwin L. Ballard after he advertised $300 raffle tickets in the St. Louis area but allegedly intended to use the proceeds from the raffle to benefit himself.
According to the consent judgment and order filed today in St. Louis County Circuit Court, Ballard placed an advertisement in the Nov. 10 edition of the North County Journal, offering to sell raffle tickets for $300 apiece. The ad said that ticket buyers would have a chance to win a “dream home” in the St. Louis area, a Corvette, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, or one of several other prizes or cash substitutes.
The total value of the prizes was stated as being more than $1 million, with the drawing scheduled for Dec. 24. The ad also stated that the prizes were based on sales of 8,000 tickets, and that refunds would be provided if the minimum sale of tickets was not met.
The Missouri constitution limits raffle sponsors to “organizations recognized as charitable or religious pursuant to federal law.” Ballard does not meet that definition, Nixon said, and also violated Missouri consumer protection laws by making other misrepresentations in connection with the raffle.
“The only winner in this raffle was set up to be Mr. Ballard himself,” Nixon said. “This illustrates why games of chance in Missouri are regulated and limited — to protect Missourians from possible fraud. This raffle fell well outside the bounds of the law.”
Nixon said Ballard, who does business as DB's Sport-It, also told a representative of the St. Louis Better Business Bureau that the home mentioned in the ad would be built by a prominent local home builder. Legal counsel for the home builder told the Attorney General's Office that the company had never agreed to contract with Ballard or agree to assist with the homes.
Today's order permanently prohibits Ballard from advertising or selling tickets to any future raffles, and that any violation of the order will require the defendant to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 per violation.